• This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: EU health agency warns of severe winter flu season for elderly; US and Indonesia call for new G20 forum to prepare for next pandemic; experts recommend US FDA approve Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5-11.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 244.5 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.96 million. More than 6.92 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

All fully-vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the country without a special exemption from 1 November. Australians have been unable to travel abroad for 18 months without a government waiver.

The Canadian province of British Colombia will offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to everyone over the age of 12 from January, officials have announced.

Bahrain has approved the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 3-11 years old.

Viet Nam will begin vaccinating children against COVID-19 using the Pfizer/BioNTech jab from next month.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews has said his government will not apply for travel permits to allow unvaccinated tennis players to compete at the Australian Open.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases have hit a record high in Bulgaria, with 6,813 new cases in the previous 24 hours.

Ukraine's health minister has urged more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as COVID-19-related deaths hit a daily record of 734 yesterday.

A panel of experts has voted to recommend the US Food and Drug Administration authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries.
Image: Our World in Data

2. EU health agency warns of severe winter flu season for elderly

The European Union's public health agency has warned that the upcoming influenza season in Europe could be severe for the elderly and those with weak immunity. The agency added that it could put a greater burden on health systems already under strain by COVID-19.

The main reported subtype of the influenza virus seen in the EU and European Economic Area disproportionately affects older people and is associated with lower vaccine effectiveness, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said.

"The early detections of the A (H3N2) subtype are an indication that the upcoming flu season could be severe, although we cannot know for sure what the upcoming flu season will look like," said Pasi Penttinen, ECDC's head of influenza programme.

Penttinen also urged health workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu.

3. US and Indonesia call for new G20 forum to prepare for next pandemic

The world's largest economies should create a forum to facilitate global coordination for the next pandemic, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday. A new financing facility should also be created to keep up with emerging threats, the two said in a letter to their G20 colleagues.

"While we are making progress in fighting COVID-19, we also face a stark reality: this will not be the last pandemic," they wrote ahead of Friday's joint meeting of G20 health and finance ministers. "We must not lose this opportunity to demonstrate leadership with a decisive commitment to act."

They said that the forum would allow health and finance ministers to better cooperate and coordinate prevention, detection, information sharing and any necessary response.

What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is a coalition of 85 global leaders, hosted by the World Economic Forum. Its mission: Join hands in support of social entrepreneurs everywhere as vital first responders to the pandemic and as pioneers of a green, inclusive economic reality.

Its COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda, outlines 25 concrete recommendations for key stakeholder groups, including funders and philanthropists, investors, government institutions, support organizations, and corporations. In January of 2021, its members launched its 2021 Roadmap through which its members will roll out an ambitious set of 21 action projects in 10 areas of work. Including corporate access and policy change in support of a social economy.

For more information see the Alliance website or its “impact story” here.